If you didn’t know, I was on a dating reality show called ‘The Proposal’ a while ago. Feel free to catch up on that whole experience here. It’s almost been six months since that aired, and chronologically it feels pretty good to talk about the aftermath of that whole ordeal.
There were two main reasons why I initially auditioned were:
- I needed the money.
- I thought the visibility would be good for me.
I hold the same disdain for reality television as the most of you, reality dating television was a cesspool even below that. Of course, I put all that aside when I was told that I had been cast for the show.
I hadn’t had a break in months and an all expenses paid trip out to LA seemed like a great deal on top of the pay. The potential exposure was also going to be huge, airing right after ‘The Bachelorette’. That’s really where my lack of experience came into play.
Managing your image and your brand is an important part of being an actor. I was forced to acknowledge that quite some time ago. It’s not easy because I’m not used to it, but I’ve been trying to learn. I’ve said before, my reasons to go into acting are not to be rich and famous. Believe me, I wouldn’t mind it, but that’s not my goal.
A big part of me believed that I could parlay whatever passing attention I got into more opportunities, a belief that was shared by many, if not all of the contestants. Some people even requested footage of their time on the show for their reels, and that was when I started thinking that my whole train of thought had been wrong.
How many actors that I admired started because they were famous?
How many ‘reality stars’ ended up making a living that I respected?
These were all questions with answers, none of which made me feel good about my decision. I had been putting the cart before the horse. I don’t care what field it is, I would rather be good than be known. And I know that other people believe differently, but that’s just how it is for me. I still remember, I didn’t watch the episode with anyone, I just stayed in my apartment and had the TV on. I knew that it would entertain some people and it would be a novel experience, but I wasn’t proud of it. Why should I have been? I simply just existed.
There was one thing that the show helped me with though. It was a simple proof-of-concept: that I was good-looking enough for network television. I’m a realist, I know that my looks aren’t my strength and going through the doubt in this industry has given me perspective on how much appearance matters. But, the simple validation of producers looking at me and thinking, “Hey, this guy could possibly be considered by America to an eligible bachelor and won’t scare off audiences!”
Looking back, I can’t believe how lucky I was being eliminated in the first round. I got a few minutes of airtime, but really, no lingering effects. Furthermore, I was especially glad when the show was taken off of all the streaming sites and it just became a funny anecdote should I choose to tell it.
Honestly the people that I met producing the show were nothing short of genial and kind, but I’m also glad that my misstep in trying to advance my career didn’t have any lasting ramifications. Looking back this was the biggest lesson for me, don’t get lost in the hype. Since then I’ve always asked myself, am I doing work worth doing? Am I doing the work that I should be doing?
You know you’re getting old when you remember things your Mom used to say and you find yourself agreeing. “Don’t take shortcuts, you just end up cutting yourself short.”
Lesson learned. I’m not sure if I’ll ever make it to Los Angeles again, especially shooting on the Warner Brothers lot. But if I do, I’ll have earned it the right way, which is the hard way.